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Wedding Photography

Orange County Wedding Photographers Discuss Film v. Digital

It’s no secret that brides today have a lot they need to consider when selecting one of the many Orange County wedding photographers to document their big day. Gone are the days when wedding photography mainly consisted of posed images before and after the ceremony; now brides can choose from a plethora of professionals, from artists with a strong contemporary flair to those who prefer a more photojournalistic approach. And with so many well known wedding photographers choosing to shoot in film - Jose Villa and Elizabeth Messina come to mind immediately - more and more professionals are rediscovering this medium, and exploring it as a way to capture Orange County weddings.

But as the bride-to-be, is there a distinct advantage for you to choose a photographer who uses one medium over the other? We spoke with four Orange County wedding photographers for insight on this debate, to figure out what you need to know about this issue!


You can’t go on Instagram or Facebook and not notice photographers using hashtags like #film and #filmisnotdead to show their passion for this format. It’s understandable considering many professionals picked up their first camera before the digital renaissance, so we’re here to shed light on why some professionals are so enthusiastic about reverting back to film.

“Why film? Artists are always looking at different mediums to create new images. The constant is to keep things fresh and not stagnate,” says Stephen Orlick of Stephen Orlick | Wedding Story Photo. “Creativity is always changing and sometimes that means revisiting older techniques and updating them. That's where film comes in. The immediacy of digital photography got everyone really excited. It's also quite easy to take a decent looking picture with the digital camera. As digital evolved and got better and better, some photographers went back to film to see what they were missing.”

“When exposed properly, film has an aesthetic quality that is beautiful, but film and processing are expensive,” says John of John Schnack Photography. “Film's high cost also forces Orange County wedding photographers to be judicious and slow down the entire process, from exposure to composition to shutter release, yielding a higher quality image without the need to overshoot.”


It’s no secret digital photography has made capturing images easier than ever before, and Orange County wedding photographers get to take full advantage of it. Orange County wedding photographers are able to get a variety of shots, without worrying about the cost of developing a roll of film, and as some would argue, allowing professionals to be as creative as ever.

“Digital photography allows a photographer to take images very freely and creatively because the expense of film is no longer an issue,” adds Stephen Orlick. “State-of-the-art digital cameras produce very high-quality images in bright daylight and extremely low light situations.”

“An important factor, especially at weddings, is that you cannot miss a very important moment, such as the first kiss during the ceremony or any other spontaneous moment, because you ran out of film,” Anna Goddard of Goddard Studios says. “There are only 36 frames on one roll of film. It’s too limiting and you might be changing a roll of film during a special moment.”

Which Medium Do Our Orange County Wedding Photographers Prefer?

When we asked the big question, all four photographers we spoke to choose digital over film for Orange County weddings. Why you ask? Read on:

Anna of Goddard Studios writes, “Since there are many light challenges during the wedding day that are sometimes out of our control, we need to be able to edit the pictures in a post-production process. And there are other reasons, like retouching of blemishes, eliminating wires in a background, adding some contrast, lightning or darkening of pictures, turning a picture into black and white, as well as enhancing and adjusting colors. Previously the post-production process was done in the darkroom, and now we can just do it on a screen.”

“These days there really is little difference between actual film and the way digital can be ‘developed,’” says Whitney Dean of Glass Jar Photography “We prefer digital in large part because of the safety of the images. With film, you can run the risk of exposing your film and ruining a roll of images, whereas with digital it's supremely unlikely you’ll lose any images from a wedding or session. And again, an experienced photographer can learn to edit or ‘develop’ their images to have all the benefits of film without any of the risk.”

“We LOVE film,” Dean continues, ”But since we do video and photos at the same time at most weddings, we need to have the ability to work more quickly and efficiently.”

When it comes to selecting between Orange County wedding photographers, professionals agree that brides should not be as concerned about the type of gear their photographer chooses to use. Rather brides should be in love with the result of their labors capturing Orange County weddings.

“I think it's more important to find a photographer you LOVE, and that the couple couldn't imagine remembering their day without, regardless of what they shoot with,” says Dean with Glass Jar Photography. “At the end of the day, the photographer will be your eyes and be capturing your memories. We feel photography is the most important part of the wedding process (next to the person, and place of course). So, look through blogs, magazines, Pinterest, and Facebook until you've found someone you share a vision with, and maybe equally as importantly, has experience. A photographer who has a proven track record of images you love, and experience capturing weddings is pivotal to couples getting their money's worth and having images to look back on and love.”

John Schnack closes perfectly by saying, “With photography, the medium isn't the message, the message is the message. It really doesn't matter if the photographer uses the latest and greatest digital gear or a pinhole camera to record a wedding. If the couple can relate with the aesthetic quality of a photographer's work and, more importantly, the photographer's personality, the tools a photographer uses to do the job are irrelevant.”

So brides-to-be, are you planning on having a film or digital photographer capture your day? We'd love to hear from you!

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